Historic Preservation workshops offered on October 19 at Ice House

by Trish Rudder

To get a better understanding of the Town of Bath’s historic value and how to preserve it, the town’s Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC) is hosting public workshops by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) on Thursday, October 19 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Ice House.

The workshops are in lieu of the Landmarks committee meeting that was to be held at 2 pm at Town Hall.

Committee Treasurer Ryan Rebant said last week the workshops on Research Essentials and Financial Incentives are “to better ourselves, the team, and the public.”

They will be held in the Ice House classroom, “Annalee’s Dream,” on the first floor.  The Ice House is on the corner of Independence and Mercer streets in Berkeley Springs at 138 Independence St.

Rebant said he sent the workshop notice to the Town of Bath which was placed on the town’s social media page. People interested in learning about the preservation of historic properties have told Rebant they will be attending.

He said at 35 maximum seating, the room will be limited.

According to the SHPO website, in addition to educating the public regarding historic preservation methods, resources and skills, one of the state organization’s objectives is to:

“Identify, create, and develop various resources that highlight historic preservation efforts in West Virginia and to illustrate proper preservation techniques.”

The State Historic Preservation Office is also working to “[r]ecognize preservation’s role in helping communities retain a sense of place and identity” and to  tie history with recreation and tourism efforts around the state.

SHPO works to “provide technical and financial assistance for historic preservation projects in towns and counties identified as economically challenged” and to help individual property owners, non-profits and governments to protect “threatened resources.” Some of the  tools they use include  easements and covenants, and they promote an understanding of historic tax credits and incentive programs that can help property owners preserve important sites.

One of the objectives under “Stewardship,” is for SHPO to “work with historic landmark commissions and local governments to implement local historic preservation ordinances, design review and planning overlay districts to protect historic resources.”

Rebant said this is the first SHPO workshop, and more are to come to Berkeley Springs.